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Trio of young women make up the rodeo court, who will represent the event throughout the Northwest

SUBMITTED PHOTO - The 2020 St. Paul Rodeo Royal Court consists of Princess Monica Eichler (left), Queen Kearsten Friedrich and Princess Saige Johns (right).

Although it's a full eight months before the next installment of the St. Paul Rodeo, the royalty representing the annual Fourth of July rite has already been determined.

Following a full day of tryouts, the royal court was chosen from eight applicants on Oct. 13 at the Yamhill County fairgrounds. They include Queen Kearsten Friedrich and Princesses Monica Eichler and Saige Johns.

The court was chosen by a 10-member committee of the St. Paul Rodeo Association and the criteria required the applicants to between the ages of 17-23. A press release from the association explained that a morning session consisted of applicant interviews with the committee, querying the applicants on their knowledge of rodeo to current events to other topics. After lunch there ensued a horsemanship contest, including each entry reciting a memorized speech while on horseback.

"Then they do some basic things on horseback: walk, run, stop, reverse, circle carry a rodeo flag," according to the release. The entries and their mounts then take to an obstacle course that features "pole bending," maneuvering their horse close to a wall in order to pick up something, roping a steer head and crossing a simulated bridge.

The results of the committee's scoring are tabulated by computer and the queen and princesses are then selected.

"This year the speeches and the entire horsemanship part was the best we've ever seen," committee member Kevin Smith said.

"For our Royal Court members, we are looking for young horsewoman with outgoing personalities who enjoy meeting people and speaking publicly about he St. Paul Rodeo and its events in a variety of situations, including but not limited to civic luncheons, radio and television spots and schools and retirement homes," the association's Facebook page stated.

The Court

Friedrich is a Newberg High School graduate and daughter of Todd and Kari Freidrich. After completing prerequisites at Portland Community College, she transferred to Montana State University to study animal science with a minor in business. She expects to graduate in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree, then continue her education to become a veterinarian. Ultimately, her goal is own a facility that rehabilitates and enhances "equine athletes to allow them to reach their peak performance," a release form the rodeo association said.

"She has completed specialized training for starting colts, has excelled scholastically and has received various awards for outstanding citizenship and sportsmanship," the release said.

Eichler is a McMinnville resident who graduated from Amity High School and is the daughter of Leon and Terri Eichler. She was actively involved in 4-H, FFA, OHSET and was captain of the Warriors' volleyball team. She expects to graduate in 2020 after studying ag business management at Oregon State University, where she is also involved in the Steer-A-Year club and the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.

Johns, a Newberg native and daughter of Brian and Dea-Anna Johns, is a high school senior and is also enrolled at Chemeketa Community College's campus in McMinnville. She has also been involved in 4-H and OHSET. She has studied equine rehabilitation and body mechanics, has become a new technology diesel mechanic and has studied American Sign Language in order to become an interpreter.

The court will represent what is believed to be the nation's largest Fourth of July Rodeo in parades, rodeos and other events throughout the Northwest in the coming months.

The 85th annual St. Paul Rodeo is set for June 30 – July 4. Tickets go on sale Dec. 13 and are available online at www.StPaulRodeo.com. For more information, visit the website or call 503-633-2011.


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